C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Fierce attack on mentally challenged inmate at RIMH
6 days on, 41-yr-old battles for life
Authorities fail to visit patient at Command Hospital in Panchkula; probe marked late
Ritika Jha Palial
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 18
Six days after being badly assaulted by a fellow inmate at the Regional Institute for Mentally Handicapped (RIMH), Sector 31, sustaining grievous injuries on his private parts, a 41-year-old mentally challenged man (name withheld) is battling for survival.
The Regional Institute for Mentally Handicapped in Sector 31, Chandigarh
The Regional Institute for Mentally Handicapped in Sector 31, Chandigarh. Tribune photo: Pradeep Tewari

Incidentally, he was kept with persons suffering from other disabilities, which apparently sparked off the incident.

While he cannot speak due to multiple disabilities, the tears in his eyes and his crumbled lips speak volumes about the mental and physical pain he has been going through.

After undergoing a life-saving surgery at Command Hospital, Panchkula, on May 13, the day the incident was reported, the man finds only his 70-year-old mother bothering about his well-being, while none from the RIMH has shown up till date.

His hands have been bandaged to ensure that he does not unintentionally end up hurting the affected portions of his body where doctors performed the surgery.

"Initially when the Principal informed me about him (via an SMS) that he was not well and had sustained some injuries, I took it lightly as I would often see small scratches on his body when he would return from school. Later, teachers then told me that the injuries were deep. As I was already at Command Hospital, I requested them to bring him there," said Manmohan Kaur, the victim's mother, with tears rolling down her eyes.

Question mark over functioning of RIMH

Manmohan Kaur said for the past couple of years, she had been requesting the RIMH authorities to look into the need for keeping persons with different disabilities in separate classrooms to avoid such incidents. "However, they failed to realise its importance and as a result, my child had to pay a price for it?," she said.

Inquiry marked

The Joint Director, RIMH, Dr BS Chavan, today said, "We marked an inquiry into the case on Saturday. We will get a clear picture only when the inquiry is over."

RIMH facing a lot of challenges: Joint Director

Dr Chavan, while admitting that the issue of keeping inmates with different disabilities separately needed to be looked into, said the institute had been facing a lot of challenges in handling the inmates. "We had thought of fixing the maximum age limit for keeping inmates at 25 to focus better on younger ones in their formative years. However, at present, we do not have any alternative home or school for the care of adult inmates with similar disabilities. When we share the age issue with the parents of older inmates, they are often resistant to the idea."

Who all are enrolled in RIMH

There are four categories of persons who are admitted for learning and care at the RIMH. They include those suffering from cerebral palsy, autism, mental retardation and multiple disabilities.

2 other such schools in city

Sorem in Sector 36 and Prayaas in Sector 38 are the other two schools which work for the care and education of mentally challenged persons/children.

Parents' society hits out at Joint Director

"The Joint Director, RIMH, must know that according to medical norms, a psychiatry patient and mentally challenged children cannot be kept together in a class. It is gross negligence on the part of the Joint Director," a society of parents and guardians, headed by ML Kalra, said in a press note this evening.

No full-time doctor for 350 RIMH inmates

The society also stated that ever since the full-time doctor left the RIMH, none has been appointed to take care of the 350 inmates of the RIMH.

What the Health Secy says
"We marked an inquiry into the matter on Saturday. A specific solution can only be thought of once we get a report on the matter. Looking at the available resources, it is not easy to have separate institutions for persons with different disabilities. Besides, keeping them in separate classrooms will not serve the purpose since they are exposed to each other in corridors and washrooms. But for the time being, we need to first offer some aid to the suffering patient and also wait for the findings of the inquiry." — Anil Kumar, UT Health Secretary 



Police forced me to speak in DSP’s favour: Complainant
Bipin Bhardwaj
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 18
The main complainant and prime witness in the DSP Raka Gira corruption case, Krishan Kumar Malhotra, has accused the police of pressuring him to make false statements to weaken the case against the accused.
Krishan Malhotra, the complainant
Krishan Malhotra, the complainant
Raka Gira, the accused
Raka Gira, the accused

He also alleged inaction by the police against certain political leaders and Punjab police personnel whom he had named in his complaint.

An accused in a forgery case, Malhotra, who is out on bail, told mediapersons that he was forced by the police to give a statement in the DSP's favour. "I have moved an application before the court to get my fresh statement recorded," Malhotra said.

He alleged that a politician-police mafia was behind his life. He alleged that his office had been attacked earlier and now he was receiving threats to his life from a Mohali-based Akali youth leader and policemen whom he had named in his complaint.

Malhotra alleged that the police arrested him on the basis of false complaints lodged against him by certain farmers of Mullanpur at the behest of some major house building firms coming up with residential and housing projects in Mullanpur.

Malhotra alleged that the policemen named in the complaint had taken nearly Rs 65 lakh from him on the pretext of settling his case. He also presented a CD containing the video footage of the policemen receiving the money from him at his Mullanpur office.

The woman DSP was arrested on a charge of demanding and taking a bribe of Rs 1 lakh from Malhotra, a Mullanpur-based builder, for settling a case of forgery against him. A case under the Prevention of Corruption Act was registered against her. The CBI, during a search of Gira's house in Sector 15, had also seized weapons, including a .32-bore German revolver and a double-barrelled gun.



BJP leaders battle to take credit for Kirron’s win
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 18
Following the victory of BJP candidate Kirron Kher in the Lok Sabha elections, a battle for the credit has now begun in the local unit of the party.

The top three leaders — city unit president Sanjay Tandon, former MP Satya Pal Jain and former Union Minister and former MP Harmohan Dhawan — are now trying to take the credit for Kirron Kher’s victory.

Though these three leaders are not making any official claims themselves, leaders of their camp have started projecting that Kirron’s victory was only because of their hard work.

Sources said leaders of the Sanjay Tandon camp were projecting that besides the Modi wave, it was because of a strong organisational set-up and booth-level management that Kirron Kher won against Congress candidate Pawan Kumar Bansal and AAP candidate Gulkirat Kaur Panag.

Leaders of the Harmohan Dhawan camp say that Dhawan was given the responsibility of villages and colonies, which have a 57 per cent vote share in the city, and in these areas, it was Kirron all the way.

A leader of the Dhawan camp said colonies and villages were the earlier the vote bank of the Congress, but it was only because of the efforts made by Dhawan that these people voted for Kirron. Dhawan is a popular leader in these areas, he said.

A leader of the Satya Pal Jain camp said people should not forget that after the announcement of Kirron's name, supporters of Dhawan and Tandon had opposed her name. It was only Jain who openly supported her. It was Jain’s experience -- be it in legal matters or handling the entire election campaign in all areas - which ultimately helped Kirron win, he said.

Tandon, Jain in Delhi

Sanjay Tandon and Satya Pal Jain are in Delhi. Though these leaders claimed that they were in the Capital to attend important party meetings, sources said they would also present the report card of the BJP’s victory on the Chandigarh seat.



Cop falls off bus, dies
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 18
A 49-year-old sub-inspector with the Intelligence Bureau (IB), Shyam Lal, died after he fell on the road while boarding a Haryana Roadways bus near the Fun Republic light point yesterday.

The police said Shyam Lal was boarding the bus when the driver, Rattan Kumar, suddenly pressed the accelerator following which the victim lost his balance and fell on the ground.

The victim received grievous head injuries and was rushed to the Civil Hospital, Mani Majra, where doctors declared him brought dead.

Several IB officials from the regional head office in Sector 19 inspected the accident spot to see whether there was any foul play behind the incident.

Sources said IB sleuths quizzed the bus driver to verify his antecedents.

The victim used to reside in Sector 32. The body was handed over to his family members after the postmortem examination. The bus driver was arrested and later released on bail. 



Power supply system crippling in City Beautiful
  No advance power purchase agreements, delayed upgrade of substations to blame
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 18
Poor power supply infrastructure, no advance power purchase agreements, delayed upgrade of substations and failure of the enforcement wing of the UT Electricity Department have crippled the power supply system in the city.

As the UT Administration acts late to start the process of purchasing power to manage power crisis in summer, residents of the city have to face power cuts.

Sample this: The UT Administration had planned to purchase 185 MW in May, but till date the file regarding permission to purchase power has not been cleared by the Union Power Ministry. Had the authorities initiated the process in time, they could have bought power from various companies.

The situation of poor power supply infrastructure can be gauged from the fact that for the past three years, the UT Administration has failed to upgrade the Sector 34 substation, which mainly caters to southern sectors. Every year, residents of southern sectors face long power cuts in summer.

Besides, the UT Administration seems to have turned a blind eye to illegal "kundi" connections. The Administration suffers a loss of Rs 7 crore every year due to these unauthorised connections.

The Administration also failed to initiate reforms in the power sector, which resulted in power cuts. Under the reforms, the Administration was to implement projects such as introduction of the management integrated system and the geographic information system, among other initiatives, to improve the working of the power sector in the city. The Administration has failed to start these projects so far. 

How city gets its power

The UT Administration gets 220 MW of power from different sources -- 47 per cent from Mohali (PSPCL), 5 per cent from Dhulkote (BBMB) and the remaining 48 per cent from Nalalgarh. Nearly 30 MW is channelled through Jammu and Kashmir as per a bilateral agreement. The remaining power is purchased by the Administration the power exchange, depending on its daily requirement.

Undeclared load

The Administration claims that consumers do not declare their actual load. The Electricity Department claims that of the 2.10 lakh consumers, only 15,000 declared the actual load last year, resulting in overloading. In previous years during summer, the load on transformers was more than 95 per cent of their capacity, which is in contravention of the Joint Electricity Regulatory Commission (JERC) guidelines. According to the norms, the load on transformers should not be more than 80 per cent of their capacity. Due to overloading, transformers at different substations developed technical snags during summer last year.

Long-term power pacts will lead to financial loss: UT

The Administration had submitted before the JERC: "The UT Electricity Department faces a shortage of power during summer and has surplus power during winter. If long-term power purchase agreements are made, this may lead to a financial loss to the department in view of the market rates varying during summer and winter. Therefore, buying short-term power through competitive bidding is more appropriate to meet the increased load demand during summer."

UT Superintending Engineer (Electricity) MP Singh said they had now set up around 30 new 11 kV transformers in different parts of the city and were in the process of setting up around 40 more such transformers. Besides, a 100 MVA transformer had been installed at the Kishangarh substation, taking the tally of transformers of a similar capacity to three at the substation, which accounts for the transmission of nearly 55 per cent power in Chandigarh, he said.

No dedicated helpline for power complaints

The Administration does not have a dedicated round-the-clock helpline for power complaints. At present, helpline number 0172-4639999 caters to power complaints as well as those pertaining to the monkey menace, animal bite and snakebite cases, burning of dry leaves and electrical complaints at government houses. At the 14 complaint centres set up by the UT Electricity Department, the staff hardly pick up the phone. 

Figures at a glance
* Power consumers: 2.10 lakh
* Peak demand so far this summer: 270 MW
* Expected power demand this summer: 400 MW


Changes in local Cong unit on the cards
  City Congress president BB Behl may be asked to resign by the party high command
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 18
After the defeat of Congress candidate Pawan Kumar Bansal from the Chandigarh Lok Sabha seat, changes in the local party unit are now on the cards. Senior party leaders are admitting that there many reasons of Bansal's defeat. One of the reasons was weak leadership in the local party unit, which ultimately led to Bansal's defeat, a leader said.

Sources said that the party high command might ask the Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee (CTCC) president BB Behl to resign from the post.

When contacted, CTCC president BB Behl said the party would form a committee in consultation with the party's national general secretary and incharge of the local unit, Shakeel Ahmed, to find out the reasons, which led to the defeat.

When asked about the change in party leadership of the local unit, Behl said if the party high command would ask him to resign from the post, he would resign immediately.

Kirron defeated Bansal with record margin

BJP candidate Kirron Kher had won from the Chandigarh Lok Sabha seat, defeating her nearest rival and Congress candidate Pawan Kumar Bansal by a margin of 69,642 votes. The 61-year-old actor, who had jumped into the electoral fray for the first time, polled 1,91,362 votes while four-time MP Pawan Kumar Bansal got 1,21,720 votes.

First defeat under Behl's leadership

It was first ever defeat of the Congress candidate in the Lok Sabha elections under Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee (CTCC) president BB Behl's leadership. Behl who was appointed as the CTCC president in 2000 had managed to ensure the Congress candidate's victory in the Lok Sabha elections from the Chandigarh seat. 

Differences led to the defeat

Sources revealed that the divided Congress camp was one of the major factors for Bansal's defeat. Before Bansal's name was announced as the party candidate, a number of leaders had applied for the party ticket from the Chandigarh seat. At that time, these leaders had raised questions on the party leadership. Though later, everything was settled, but sources added that there were still differences in the local party unit. 



AAP performed better than Congress in 23 sectors
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 18
Although, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidate, Gulkirat Kaur Panag, stood third by bagging 1,08,362 votes, she performed better than the Congress candidate and four -time Member of Parliament (MP), Pawan Kumar Bansal, in not less than 23 different sectors of Chandigarh. The voters in VIP sectors -1 to 10 and Kaimbwala, Sector 16 to 23 and Sectors 37 to 41- preferred to choose AAP over the Congress.

Bansal polled 1,21,720 votes and secured a lead of 13,358 votes from Gul, however, the residents from a large number of sectors voted for AAP.

From the VIP sectors - 1 to 10 and Kaimbwala, Gul took a lead of 294 from the area. Gul polled 1,933 while Bansal got 1,639 votes.

The voters showed a similar enthusiasm from Sectors 16, 22 and 23. Gul

polled 4,079 votes while Bansal secured 3,611 votes respectively.

Political experts said that the anti-incumbency was so strong that the works done for the city by Bansal and new trains started by him for the region, as the Railway Minister was of no help to him.

Gul, the model turned politician also gathered support from Sectors 17, 18, 19, 20 and 21. While Gul got 5,834 votes from the area, Bansal managed to get 4,534 votes.



VIP sectors voted for BJP in Panchkula
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 18
Residents of Sectors 6 and 7 in Panchkula which houses bureaucrats, police officers and senior government officials voted for the BJP, as a majority of them gave their votes to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate Rattan Lal Kataria.

In Sector 6 out of the total votes cast (1,446), as many as 977 persons cast their vote in favour of the BJP.

The Aam Aadmi party (AAP) managed to put up an impressive show in Sector 6 by securing 199 votes as compared to the established Congressthat got only 189 votes.

While Raj Kumar Balmiki was contesting from the Congress , SP Singh was the AAP candidate.

The Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) got just 35 votes in Sector 6. 22 persons in Sector 6 went in for NOTA option (none of the above).

Meanwhile, in Sector 7, out of the total number of votes cast (3,298), Kataria got 2,421 votes while Raj Kumar Balmiki got just 229 votes.

In Sector 12, where Balmiki resides, people preferred giving their mandate to Kataria. Out of the total 1,980 votes cast, 1,299 votes went in favour of Kataria. Balmiki just got 291votes. On the counting day, Rattan Lal Kataria won by a margin of 82,451 votes from the Congress candidate Raj Kumar Balmiki here in Panchkula district.

BJP district chief Vishal Seth said Kataria would soon hold a public session to redress the problems of the public. “We will be holding public sessions soon and Kataria will be joining us next week,” said Seth. 



Once again, Modi proved lucky for local BJP

BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi once again proved lucky for the BJP in winning the Chandigarh seat. Last time, the BJP had won the Chandigarh seat in 1996 and 1998 respectively and at that time Modi was the in charge of the Chandigarh BJP unit. Now once again in 2014, the BJP won the Chandigarh seat when Modi was the prime ministerial candidate. This time Modi had also addressed a rally for BJP candidate Kirron Kher in Chandigarh.

Time for reshuffle

As the results of the general election gave clear majority to the BJP, the UT “babus” who have been enjoying extended stint in Chandigarh are packing their bags. Certain officials known to have pro Congress inclinations are expecting a new posting once the top brass in the Ministry of Home Affairs is put in place. Even the UT Administrator could be replaced in the coming weeks.

When numbers went wrong

A few days before the election results were to be announced, the BJP city in charge and national secretary Aarti Mehra while express gratitude for supporting the BJP ata press conference said that she wanted to thank people of Chandigarh who came out in large numbers and ensured a record breaking 66 per cent voting. This left the journalists surprised. It was then the other BJP leaders intervened and said that it was around 74 per cent voting in the city.

Modi special ‘chai’

Tea stall owners outside the BJP office located in Sector 33 were asked by the visitors to prepare a “Modi special chai” (tea) for them and charge whatever he wanted to. For the past three months, his earning has enhanced immensely by selling Modi chai (tea) to the visitors and workers at the party office.

Quick to finish their job

While the election results continued to come till late in the evening in May 16, the election staff at the counting centre in Mohali won all praises for showing great efficiency in their job. Much to the surprise of many, the counting process was completed at the centre by 12 noon. Around three lakh votes of Kharar and Mohali segments of the Anandpur Sahib constituency were counted by the staff at the centre. The Mohali SDM-cum-ARO, Lakhmir Singh, said that he was instructed to delay the counting process for the last round, as they were much ahead of other centres in the constituency.

Contributed by: Rajinder Nagarkoti, Rajmeet Singh, Amit Sharma, Aarti Kapur and Akash Ghai



45% residents suffer from high BP
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 18
Changes in lifestyle, work-related stress and lifestyle diseases have led to an increase in hypertension cases in Chandigarh over the past 30 years.

The fact came to light during a workshop organised at the Senior Citizens Club, Sector 25, to mark World Hypertension Day here today.

“The change in lifestyle and increase in work-related stress have caused 45 per cent of the city’s population to suffer from high blood pressure (BP),” claimed health experts.

Dr Sumit Khetarpal, senior consultant, internal medicine and Dr Amit Gupta, senior consultant, interventional cardiology, at Max Super Speciality Hospital (MSSH), Mohali, while addressing the workshop clarified various myths about hypertension.

Dr Khetarpal said the rise in sedentary lifestyle, lack of physical activity, high fat intake, obesity, alcohol consumption, unhealthy diet, smoking and increasing work pressure are the major causes of hypertension.

“High BP can damage the heart, kidneys, brain and blood vessels. Essentially the disease was asymptomatic, but in some patients, it might produce headache, breathlessness and light headedness,” he added.

Dr Gupta said, “Persistent hypertension was one of the primary factors for heart failure, myocardial infarction, stroke, arterial aneurysm and chronic kidney failure.”



Swanky swings, not smooth roads, on Panchkula civic body’s priority list
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 18
Swanky swings are more important for Panchkula residents rather than smooth roads. Officials of the Municipal Corporation (MC) here apparently believe so, which is why they purchased small swings, each costing Rs 81,000 rather than re-carpeting potholed roads.

Sixteen such swings have been installed in the Mansa Devi Complex (MDC) area at an approximate cost of Rs 12, 80,000. Significantly, roads in the area haven’t seen re-carpeting for the last six years. Installation of such swings is on in other sectors as well. As many as 80 swanky swings are to come up in the city.

However, Panchkula Deputy Commissioner and MC Commissioner SS Phulia has ordered a probe into the purchase of swings following a complaint by BL Tandon, a resident of Sector 4 here and a former engineer.

Tandon said, “I learnt that the swings have been purchased at an exorbitant cost and wrote to the DC. It is shocking that roads are being neglected for the last six years and swings are on the MC’s priority.” In his complaint, Tandon alleged that there the contract for the work was awarded at inflated rates.

Area councillor Kuljeet Waraich said tenders for re-carpeting of roads have been floated and the work would start soon.

Executive Engineer of MC’s engineering wing PK Gupta said, “The mini-home swing costs approximately Rs 81,000 while the spiral slide has been purchased for Rs 75,000. The work of re-carpeting of roads would start soon. In fact, we had planned to install swings also and the project was pending since long.”

“My son fell from his bike after losing balance on the potholed roads here. Surprisingly, money is being spent on purchase of swings and not on improving the condition of roads,” said VR Vij, a resident of MDC Sector 4. 



Increasing road width, Metro need of the hour
Even as Zirakpur boasts of multi-storeyed housing towers, world-class multiplexes and state-of-the-art flyovers, traffic chaos has increased manifold. Chandigarh Tribune asked its readers what should be done to streamline traffic on the busiest intersection on the city’s periphery

Need to streamline traffic

The traffic bottlenecks in Chandigarh’s major peripheral urban areas, particularly in Zirakpur, symbolising poor urban planning and management of traffic and transportation, are largely due to violation of the Punjab New Capital (Periphery) Control Act-1952. The sudden slowdown in traffic at the flyover in Zirakpur is due to lack of proper construction of the flyover. It was constructed without taking into account the future urban expansion, lack of exclusive diversion lanes to the nearby colonies, resultant traffic merger at some points and lack of connecting flyovers on the Patiala and Shimla side.

Manoj Kumar Teotia, Chandigarh

Increase width of main road

Zirakpur is being developed as an urban-agglomeration around Chandigarh, boasting of multi-storey ed housing towers, world-class multiplexes and state-of-the-art flyovers. But for the common man, Zirakpur lies beyond all these facilities and is nothing more than a hub of chaos, infamous for its traffic jams and infrastructural weaknesses. The generic traffic problems of Zirakpur can be addressed by opening the integrated bus stand, increasing the width of the main road, development of pedestrian paths, imposition of traffic rules and removal of street vendors.

Aeshvarya Thakur, Chandigarh

Provide alternative routes for traffic

To ensure smooth flow of traffic, the government should control the mushrooming of cement jungles and unabated construction of multi-storey buildings along the highways. The bridge under the flyover should have more than one lane. Vehicular traffic heading towards the Shimla and Panchkula sides should be provided another alternative route.

Priya Darsh Growar, Mohali

Construct bypass from Chandigarh to Patiala

Lack of proper planning has led to traffic congestion on the said highway. The market at Zirakpur is already congested and hampers the smooth flow of traffic on the Chandigarh-Delhi highway and Shimla-Patiala highway. On the lines of the Shimla-Ambala highway, a bypass should be constructed from Chandigarh to Patiala by skipping Zirakpur.

KK Mohan, Chandigarh

Remove goods being displayed near flyover

Goods displayed at shops near the flyover and footpaths should be removed. Alternative arrangements should be made for the shopkeepers. As it is one of the busiest intersections, better regulation of traffic can also help in the smooth flow of traffic.

Sanjay Srivastava, Chandigarh

Depute police personnel at entry points

It is not possible to change the design of the flyover or widen the roads overnight to manage the flow of traffic. The best solution lies in deputing traffic police personnel at all entry points, below the flyover, from 8am to 10pm. All encroachments should be removed and parking of cars on the roadsides should not be allowed.

KC Rana, Chandigarh

Hold authorities responsible for chaos

Nothing can be expected and done unless the officers concerned of the respective state/UT are held responsible for their negligence. The projects are passed without knowing the facts and problems of the public. The officers concerned of the Punjab government — who constructed the flyover to ease traffic congestion — should be held responsible.

Sat Pal Kansal, Chandigarh

Widen road under bridge

The construction of the Chandigarh-Patiala under-bridge road has been shelved leading to traffic bottlenecks. The government should widen the road under the bridge. Also, an alternative route/bypass for vehicles needs to be constructed.

Parminder Singh Sodhi, Patiala

New routes needed for Patiala side

Attention needs to be given to the regulation of traffic so that buses halting at Zirakpur for Patiala to drop/board passengers should stop at a distance of 400 meters towards the Patiala side. No bus should be allowed to go underway on the side-lanes heading for Delhi and Chandigarh, and passengers may be dropped at the end of the overbridge.

OP Garg, Chandigarh

Make six-lane roads on both sides of flyover

The traffic congestion on the Ambala-Chandigarh highway and Shimla-Patiala highway has become an arduous task for commuters. To ease the traffic congestion at Zirakpur, the Chandigarh-Delhi/Panchkula-Delhi flyover was constructed a few years ago. However, traffic that passes under the flyover causes traffic jams at the Zirakpur T-point and the light point on the way to Patiala. The existing road should be expanded on both sides under the flyover and made into a six-lane track.

RK Kapoor, Chandigarh

Make Chandigarh-Ambala highway six lane

The Chandigarh-Ambala highway should be made into six lane. This will ease traffic chaos in Zirakpur. The officials concerned, who planned the layout, did not keep all aspects into mind. This has led to an increase in the number of vehicles coming to the town from Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, New Delhi and Chandigarh. The faulty planning and construction of the bridge has resulted in wastage of crores of tax payers’ money, besides jeopardising growth of Zirakpur, which is not in the interest of public. Who is responsible for all this?

Ajit Singh, Canada

Widen road between Panchkula and Patiala

No doubt there is so much traffic in Zirakpur, which was unimaginable some 12-15 years ago. The road stretch between Panchkula and Patiala needs to be widened up, bus stand should be used only for local buses and no bus should be allowed to be parked outside the bus stand.

Gurdip Singh Bhogal, Zirakpur

Buses halt at unscheduled spots

Traffic snarls on the lower sides of roads are due to buses plying and stopping at half a dozen unscheduled bus stops. This man-made situation is bound to improve if all the local and short distance buses are diverted at the entry points — on the three sides — to the main flyover. The long-term measures as adopted for the Dhaula Kuan intersection at Delhi are under the consideration of the highway authorities.

SC Luthra, Mani Majra

Take a cue from Dhaula Kuan bridge design

Strategic thinking and brain-storming sessions are needed to plan better for the future projects. The projects such as highways and bridges must cater for the next 50 years. The Zirakpur overbridge has eased traffic chaos between Chandigarh and Ambala. However, the scenario is different for the traffic between Panchkula and Patiala. The official who designed the bridge should have taken a cue from the design of the Dhaula Kuan bridge at Delhi.

Wg Cdr Jasbir Singh Minhas (retd.), Mohali

Expand road between Zirakpur-Rajpura-Patiala

The highways of Ambala-Chandigarh, Zirakpur-Shimla and flyovers at various strategic locations are playing a satisfactory role in the smooth flow of vehicular traffic. However, there is a dire need for the expansion of the road between Zirakpur-Rajpura-Patiala.

Gurmit Singh Saini, Mohali

Roads should be widened

As anticipated, the Zirakpur flyover has added to traffic congestion in the area. Moreover, business at shops/establishments constructed below the flyover has been affected. Instead of constructing flyovers at Zirakpur, the roads should have been widened, making a bigger intersection of roads by dismantling the existing construction, houses and shops, on the lines of the Delhi Metro.

MPS Chadha, Mohali

Tremendous vehicular pressure on NH

Zirakpur is the most important entry portal to the City Beautiful and needs attention as far as the management and regulation of traffic is concerned. With rapid urbanisation of the Zirakpur township, there has been tremendous vehicular pressure on the National Highway. This light point intersection remains heavily congested throughout the year.

BM Dhawan, Chandigarh

Six-lane ring road will ease chaos

The problem of Zirakpur crossing is a vexed one which needs thorough scientific and technical study, including serious field input. Unfortunately, whatever our planners and administrators plan becomes obsolete by the time it is executed. No one thought that the flyover’s construction would give rise to several other hurdles. One of the reason is the development of the township and its urbanisation at an extremely fast pace. The execution of the six-lane ring road will certainly ease the situation.

Dr Gurdev Singh, Mohali

Agencies concerned did not do their homework

To ease traffic chaos, the overbridge at Zirakpur was constructed. However, the agencies concerned did not carry out their homework to assess the situation. Since there is no parking place on either side of the Chandigarh-Ambala and the Patiala-Panchkula highway, vehicles remain parked in front of the market, which causes traffic congestion. There is no proper bus stop for passengers heading towards Patiala and Panchkula from Patiala.

SK Khosla, Chandigarh

Metro rail need of the hour

The density of traffic on the Ambala-Chandigarh and Shimla-Patiala highways has increased manifold. The implementation of the Metro Rail Project is the need of the hour. It will definitely lead to significant reduction in traffic congestion and air pollution, will save time of passengers, reduce accidents and save fuel.

Dr Shruti K Chawla, Chandigarh


With the BJP getting a clear-cut majority from the city, the expectations of city residents from the new Member of Parliament (MP), Kirron Kher, regarding their long-pending demands have been raised. What are your expectations from the new MP. Write your suggestions along with a passport size photograph in JPG format to openhouse@tribunemail.com



PU Syndicate approves fee hike
All affiliated colleges, departments to be affected; Senate’s nod awaited
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 18
The Panjab University Syndicate today approved fee hike of up to 20 per cent in all 188 undergraduate and postgraduate colleges affiliated to it. Also, a 5 per cent fee hike was approved for PU teaching departments and regional centres during the meeting.

The hike was proposed at the meeting of the Fee Committee chaired by PU Dean University Instructions AK Bhandari last week.

It was decided in the meeting that there would be five per cent fee hike in all courses of the university. The members also decided that out of the total amount collected after the fee hike, 50 per cent would be spent on providing education to the poor students in the next session.

The matter will now be sent to the Senate meeting, scheduled to be held on May 25, for approval. It would be implemented in the next session.

In a move that might further make education expensive at the university, the PU Senate on May 25 also consider the proposal to increase hostel rent and examination fees for the Panjab University.



Relief for Dhanwantry students
Panjab University to conduct their examination
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 18
In a major relief to about 200 students of Shri Dhanwantry Ayurvedic College, Sector 46, here, the Panjab University Syndicate today decided that the PU will conduct their examination, reviewing its earlier decision on disaffiliating the college.

The earlier decision of the Syndicate of withdrawing the affiliation had left the students in the lurch. The recommendation of the GK Chatrath Committee was approved today. The panel had suggested allowing students admitted to the Shri Dhanwantry Education Society Ayurvedic College under the court orders.

Different opinions on the issue took a major time of the meeting witnessing heated debate over the matter. However, the Syndicate decided in the interest of the students.

The Students Federation of India (SFI), which had battled for these students and took part in protests with them, welcomed the decision. The disaffiliation of the college has been a long pending issue before the authorities while a final decision came up recently. The PU authorities had questioned certain inadequacies in the college.

Other decisions
n The PU Syndicate also accepted the request of the University School of Open Learning chairperson for exemption from the semester system in all undergraduate correspondence courses for the session 2014-15. The PU will implement the semester system in undergraduate courses across all its affiliated colleges from the coming session.

n On the proposal by PU fellows Dalip Kumar, Mukesh Arora and SS Sangha, the body decided to form committees. Kumar has proposed the involvement of professors of colleges, including medical colleges, to be included in the PU academic council as well as faculties. Sangha has proposed the creation of two additional seats in each course for rural students.

n The Syndicate also took many decisions regarding appointments and approved the award of degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) to three students. It also decided to approve that the committee report regarding the regularisation of non-teaching staff working on a contractual/daily wage basis for more than 10 years in the university.

n The Syndicate agreed to drop the integrated BE-MBA course as requested by the University Institute of Engineering and Technology. The institute had proposed to discontinue the course as students from this course were unable to get good placements.



Five-Year Integrated Courses
4,400 appear for BA/BCom LLB entrance test
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 18
About 4,400 candidates appeared for the entrance test for admission to BA/BCom LLB (Hons) Five-Year Integrated Courses in various institutes of Panjab University today.

The entrance test was conducted for BA/BCom LLB (Hons) Five-Year Integrated Courses at the University Institute of Legal Studies (UILS) on the PU campus, Chandigarh, and its regional centres at Hoshiarpur and Ludhiana.

The UILS, a constituent department of the PU, has emerged as a premier legal institute of the region. Admissions to the BA/BCom LLB (Hons) at the PU are based on this entrance test and the marks in the qualifying examination (+2). Qualifying examination (+2) and the entrance test marks each carried 50 per cent weightage.

Apart from foreign nationals/NRIs, there are 120 seats each in the BA LLB (Hons) Five-Year Integrated Courses and the BCom LLB (Hons) Five-Year Integrated Courses at the UILS, PU campus. There would be 87 seats of BA LLB (Hons) Five-Year Integrated Courses at the University Institute of Laws, PU Regional Centre, Ludhiana. There would be 60 open seats in BA LLB (Hons) Five-Year Integrated Courses at the UILS, Swami Sarvanand Giri, PU Regional Centre, Hoshiarpur.

PU Controller of Examination Prof Parvinder Singh said 17 centres were set up in Chandigarh to conduct the examination. About 600 staff members worked to make this examination a success.



class X exams
PSEB to reward top 3 students
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Mohali, May 18
To encourage competition among brilliant students, the Punjab School Education Board (PSEB) is all set to start giving cash awards (subject to the approval of the Board of Directors) to its first three toppers in the matric examinations from this year.

In a proposal in this regard, which would be put forward in the forthcoming Board of Directors’ meeting on May 21, the board authorities have recommended to give cash awards of Rs 1 lakh to the topper in the overall merit list, Rs 75,000 to the runner-up and Rs 50,000 to the student, who would get the third position.

Confirming the development, secretary of the board GS Bath said the proposal had been prepared in this regard.

“Our chairperson Dr Tejinder Kaur Dhaliwal is keen to encourage students to do better. So, we decided to start giving cash prizes to the first three toppers in the overall merit list from this year. After getting approval in the upcoming Board of Directors’ meeting, the decision would be implemented,” said Bath.

Notably, the Punjab Government too had already started giving scholarships to meritorious students under the Dr Hargobind Khurana Scholarship Scheme for Brilliant Students from the last year.

“The students, who get 80 per cent or above marks in matric, are being covered under this scheme,” said Bath.

Bath said if approved, we would try to give the cash awards from this year.

Dr Dhaliwal said the brilliant students used to get scholarships and various awards from the Ministry of Human Resources and Development, state government and certain NGOs.

“Apart from scholarships, the board wants to give them cash awards. This cash award will not only encourage the brilliant students but also help the students belonging to humble families,” said Dr Dhaliwal.



ISC Class XII results
Girls outshine boys in tricity
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 18
Girls outshone boys in the tricity in the Indian School Certificate (ISC) Class XII examination conducted by the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE), the results of which were declared on late Saturday evening. Out of the 10 students, who scored more than 90 per cent marks, six were girls.

From tricity, around 126 students had appeared for the board examination, which included 71 students from St Xavier’s Senior Secondary School, seven from Strawberry Fields World School and 48 from Yadavindra Public School from SAS Nagar.

All three schools achieved 100 per cent result. Strawberry Fields World School had its first batch this year. Meanwhile, 48 students from Yadavindra Public School, Mohali, appeared for the exam. Of them, 47 got the first division.

Mervin West, principal of St Xavier’s Secondary School, said: “This year, the overall result is better than the previous year.”

Surpassing the last year’s highest total of 91.25 per cent, this year the highest percentile was 95.75 per cent. It was scored by Siddharth Yaddanapudi, science stream student of Yadavindra Public School. Among the four streams, commerce students dominated the merit list as five students scored over 90 per cent.

As per the method of calculations of percentage authorised by the CISCE for the ISC, the scores for English plus best of three subjects are considered. According to the notification uploaded on the website of the CISCE, the ICSE Class X result will be declared at 3 pm on May 21.

Students who scored above 90% Yadavindra Public School

Commerce stream

Simrata Kaur 93.8%

Navraj Singh 90.3%

Science stream

Siddharath Yaddanapudi 95.8%

Yuvraj Singh 90%


Priya Ahluwalia 91.5%

Anya Gupta 90.8%

Harman Singh 90.3%

St Xavier’s Sr Sec School

Commerce stream

Jasleen Sohal 93.3%

Parul Jhawer 93%

Divyanshi Gaur 90%



PGI’s MD/MS entrance
7,500 take examination amid tight security
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 18
About 7,500 candidates from across the country appeared for the PGIMER’s MD/MS entrance examination amid high security here today. The students underwent multi-layered security checks before reaching the examination halls at each of the 12 exam centres. Even envelopes of admit cards were not allowed in view of the previous instance of cheating during the examination using sophisticated devices that surfaced two years ago.

The students appeared for the exam for 120 seats for different specialities in the institute. The PGIMER has been plugging the loose ends by ensuring hi-tech security during all entrance exams since the major cheating scam was unearthed during the entrance exam in 2012.

Sources said in addition to ensuring frisking, photography and biometric fingerprint capturing, bug detectors, jammers and other security measures for the examinees, the academic wing of the PGIMER also changed the pattern of the paper to ensure that the best of the 7,500 candidates make it to the seats.

Some of the students also felt that defying the notion that the PGIMER's entrance test is one of the toughest medical entrances, today’s paper was relatively easier than that of the AIIMS, New Delhi. 

The cheating scam

In November 2012, CBI sleuths arrested seven decoy candidates from different exam centres who were found passing on information to another 10 beneficiaries using sophisticated Bluetooth devices. Based on a tip-off, the CBI team followed the candidates to Chandigarh and caught them at the centres. Later, the beneficiaries and the mastermind were also traced and arrested. The case is now pending before the special CBI court here. 



English oratory contest

Chandigarh: St Xavier Senior Secondary School, Sector 44-C, organised an inter-school English oratory competition, “The Orator”, on its campus. The school authorities said the competition was held with a view to providing a platform to the budding speakers and sharpening their public speaking skills. Around 14 teams from the Tricity schools took part in this mega event. The speakers were divided into two categories. The first category was “Speeches of the Great People”, while the second was “Tell a Tale”. I William Gosain, vice-chairman of the St Xavier’s Group of Schools, was the chief guest.

Honour for school

Panchkula: The National Science Talent Search Examination (NSTSE), conducted by the Unified Council, declared Holy Child as the Best Participating School for the NSTSE-2014 in India. The school has been invited to the Unified Council’s Annual Awards celebrations to be held in Hyderabad in August this year. The school also honoured national achievers who had performed exceedingly well in the examination. Among the achievers included Anika Sharma (national rank 4), Athrav Kumar (national rank 9), Samdisha Singh (national rank 12) and Gurleen Singh (national rank 59).


Mohali: St Soldier School marked its annual feature “Technothon 2014”, a two-day mega event, on the theme “World War I Centenary”. The event provided an opportunity to remind the present generation about the importance of the preservation of the World War I underwater cultural heritage. The tech fest not only aimed at enhancing the skills of information technology in young minds but also apprised the participants of the horrible aftermaths of the World War I. Around 170 students from 20 schools of the Tricity took part in the event.

Puppet show

A puppet show was organised for the junior wing of Gian Jyoti Global School, Phase II. The puppeteer showed different cultures through his art, which was enjoyed by the tiny tots. With the focus on the culture of Rajasthan, the children enjoyed four different stories, which were presented meticulously through finger movement art of the puppeteer.

Students get road safety tips

The pre-primary wing of Saupin’s School visited the Traffic Park at Sector 23, Chandigarh. Recognising the importance to instill good road use habits in young children, a number of power-point presentations and videos were shown to the students. The aim of the visit was to raise awareness on road safety issues. — TNS



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